Roman Abramovich, the previous proprietor of Chelsea Soccer Membership, “performed a key half” in securing the discharge of 5 British prisoners of the battle in Ukraine.
The Russian, 55, welcomed John Harding, Shaun Pinner, Aiden Aslin, Dylan Healy and Andrew Hill onto a jet flying them from Russia to Saudi Arabia.
He gave every of the lads iPhones in order that they might name their households and even talked soccer with the lads whereas they ate steaks on the flight to Riyadh.
Mr Harding, a British Military veteran, stated he had not recognised the Russian billionaire on the aircraft till Mr Pinner, a West Ham fan, pointed him out.
Mr Harding instructed The Solar: “Shaun stated, ‘You actually seem like Roman Abramovich’ and he replied, ‘That’s as a result of I’m him, sir’. He couldn’t consider it.
“I joked that Shaun is a West Ham fan and all of us laughed.”
‘We could not thank him sufficient’
The 59-year-old father-of-two, who was taken prisoner in Could, stated he sat subsequent to Mr Abramovich’s assistant on the flight who had defined how he helped safe their launch.
“She stated Roman had performed a key half in getting us again,” Mr Harding stated. “It’s fairly extraordinary to assume he was concerned — and I wouldn’t have even been capable of inform you who he was by him.
“He’s properly revered by Ukrainians and massively by us now, too — he’s finished a hell of rather a lot for us and we couldn’t thank him sufficient.
“He was a sound bloke, a very pretty man. He’s a legend — we completely love him and I’m so grateful for his efforts.”
Mr Abramovich has performed the function of a go-between throughout the battle, serving to to organise peace talks in Istanbul in April.
In June, a Ukrainian official stated he had helped negotiate humanitarian corridors out of Mariupol and different cities besieged by Moscow’s military.
Harding ‘top-of-the-line representatives of Britain’
Mr Harding has been hailed as “top-of-the-line representatives of his nation” by his Ukrainian commander.